Sunni Cleric Mohammad Khezr-Nejad Receives Death Sentence

In a recent development, Sunni cleric Mohammad Khezr-Nejad has been sentenced to death by Branch 3 of the Urmia Revolutionary Court. The charges against him include “spreading corruption on earth” and “acting against national security,” as reported by Kurdpa.

Judge Reza Najafzadeh issued the ruling, finding Khezr-Nejad guilty of various offenses, such as “spreading corruption on earth,” “acting against national security through threatening the integrity or independence of the country,” and “propaganda against the regime.” Consequently, he has been handed a death sentence along with 16 years of imprisonment. Throughout the trial, Khezr-Nejad has consistently dismissed these charges as baseless.

The verdict was reached based on coerced confessions obtained from the defendant during interrogation, where he purportedly admitted to “leading protests in Bukan and association with anti-regime groups.” Khezr-Nejad has contested the authenticity of these confessions.

In response to the sentencing, Khezr-Nejad has reportedly filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal of West Azerbaijan province.

The cleric and his son were arrested on November 19, 2022, by security forces in Bukan and subsequently detained in Urmia Prison. The arrest occurred after Khezr-Nejad delivered a speech during the funeral of Asa’ad Rahimi, who lost his life during protests at the hands of regime forces. The arrest involved physical assault against Khezr-Nejad.

It’s worth noting that Khezr-Nejad has faced previous arrests and convictions due to his activism.

Hassan Mardani Receives Three-Year Prison Term on Political Charges

According to Kurdpa, Hassan Mardani has been handed a three-year prison sentence by the Criminal Court in Bukan, West Azerbaijan province.

Mardani was convicted on charges of “membership and collaboration with a political opposition party.”

Mardani, 65 years old, was arrested on August 10, 2023, and then was released on bail on October 8, 2023.

Heyman Abdi Arrested in Shahin-Dej

The intelligence agents arrested Heyman Abdi, a resident of Shahin Dej, and transferred him to a detention facility in Miandoab.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, the intelligence agents arrested Heyman Abdi in Shahin Dej, the West Azerbaijan Province.

According to an informed source, the security forces did not show an arrest warrant and mentioned the collaboration with one of the anti-regime political parties as the reason for Abdi’s arrest.

HRANA’s Daily Review of Protests in Iran

On Thursday, August 11, at least three protests took place in Iran.

A number of truck drivers gathered at the Bazargan border crossing in West Azerbaijan Province to protest against the frequent blackouts of the Customs’ electronic systems and officials’ incompetency.

With placards in their hands, a number of employees, working in the oil industry, protested to demand higher wages and the enforcement of enacted regulations regarding working hours and taxation.

In Isfahan, a number of farmers gathered before the Water and Waste Water Company of Isfahan Province and protested against water shortage.

 

At Least 100 Workers Laid Off in the Aq-Dareh Gold Mine Complex

Earlier this Monday, November 22, at least 100 workers were laid off in the mining sector of the Aq-Dareh Gold mine complex in Takab County in West Azerbaijan Province.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting ILNA, many of these laid-off workers have over 15 years of experience. The employer has reportedly stated that the mass layoffs were necessary due to the reduced available work during winter months, but several workers claim that the weather is not yet cold enough to hinder their work.

Apart from these laid-off workers, 150 to 170  seasonal workers who have a temporary contract by late December have not received confirmation that they will get back to work in spring of next year.

Each year, as the workers in this report said, about 60% of workers get laid off and the remaining 200-220 are those who work in guarding, maintenance, equipping of machines and office work. Approaching winter each year, they face uncertainty over whether they will be among the laid off.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Now is definitely not the time to stop reading!

Citizen Arrested by Security Forces Without a Court Order in Oshnavieh

On Sunday, September 19, Hassan Ghodrati, a native of Oshnavieh in West Azerbaijan Province, was arrested by security forces.

According to the HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, the citizen was transferred to a security detencion center in Urmia following the arrest.

45-year-old Ghodrati is a husband and father of five.

According to the report, security forces arrested him without a court order.

As of this writing, the reasons for the arrest and the charges against him are unknown.

Soran Sharifi Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison

Branch 101 of the Bukan Criminal Court, presided over by Judge Peyman Rostami, recently sentenced Soran Sharifi to seven years in prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Sharifi received the sentence after being charged with “propaganda against the regime” and “membership in an opposition party”.

Mr. Sharifi was arrested in late May of this year by intelligence agents in Bukan was been released on bail in July.

According to the report, quoting an informed source, Mr. Sharifi owns the Hakim Clinic in Bukan, and the court has also ordered a two year closure of the clinic.

 

Ali Zolfi Sentenced to 4 Months in Prison

Ali Zolfi, a native of Bukan in West Azerbaijan Province, was sentenced to imprisonment by the court.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Kurdpa, Zolfi received a sentence of 4 months and 9 days.

According to this report, in July of this year, Branch 2 of the Bukan Criminal Court, headed by Judge Peyman Rostami, sentenced Mr. Zolfion a charge of “propaganda against the regime”.

Ali Zolfi was arrested by security forces in January 2021 and was released on bail of 200 million Tomans in late February after interrogations.

The citizen is said to have been denied telephone calls, family visits, and access to a lawyer during his detention.

Ministry of Intelligence Withholds Details on Death of Yasser Mangouri in Detention Center

On Thursday, September 9, following a call attributed to the Ministry of Intelligence, the family of Yasser Mangouri was informed of his death while he was being held in a detention center.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Mangouri had been arrested by security forces on July 17.

No information has been provided to the family about the details of the death or its date.

Mr. Mangouri is said to had been previously interrogated on charges of “collaborating with an opposition party”.

Yaser Mangouri, a native of Piranshahr in West Azerbaijan Province, was a married father of three. He was also a welding worker.

The security agency has so far refused to return the body of Mr. Mangouri to his family.

 

Azerbaijani Turk Activist Abbas Nikravan Arrested by Security Forces in Salmas

On Sunday, September 5, Azerbaijani Turk activist Abbas Nikravan was arrested by security forces and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Nikravan is a native  of Salmas in West Azerbaijan Province.

Mr. Nikravan has a history of detention. He was arrested in July 2018, during the annual gathering of Babak Castle, and was released on bail a week later.

As of this writing, no information is available on the reasons for his detention, the charges against him, or his whereabouts.